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Old December 29, 2015, 12:53 AM   #1
Fivesense
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Back to basics... Ruger wheelgun .44 Mag

I've been fastidiously researching .44 Mag lately, vacillating between SA and DA, primarily Ruger. I've reach the point of diminishing theoretical comprehension.

My LGS has a Redhawk (model 5004)- it is gorgeous, feels balanced, and is .44 Mag (the caliber on which I've conclusively decided for woods protection).

How different is the build strength of this Redhawk vs. the Super Redhawk and Super Blackhawk? Is the "regular" Redhawk capable of shooting hot .44 Mag loads? Candidly, it's not a great question as I'd be using .44 Special at the range and would only load heavy .44 Mag in the woods, hopefully never shooting anything with them.

As stated in the opening, I'm now learning less, the more I research. Please set me straight. Do I go with the "in-my-face" Redhawk, or do I order and wait for the SA Super Blackhawk (I love SA so it's not a concession).
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Old December 29, 2015, 07:02 AM   #2
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Each to his own, but I find the Redhawk the ugliest revolver I've ever seen. Strength, it's got, but oh my gosh...fugly.

I've owned a dozen Blackhawks over the years..currently have 7 in the safe. I really like the .44's, either the magnums or lately the Flat Top Specials. For hunting or back country carry where bear could be a problem, the magnums make more sense, since you have to be a hand loader to feed a Special the heavy loads you'd need for bear defense.

Overall strength: either is fine and I'll bet you shoot far more reduced loads that the full house magnums anyway. A 240 gr SWC at 1400 fps is an awesome defense load, but difficult to handle for repeat shots.

Ruger is a fine company, stands behind its products and builds accurate, strong, well finished handguns. You'll be well served with either type that you select. As an after thought, the 6-1/2" models shoot well but are a PITA to carry if you sit in any type of vehicle. I prefer the 5-1/2" or 4-5/8" bbl'd models for that reason, and find them every bit as accurate.

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Old December 29, 2015, 07:24 AM   #3
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If I wanted a 44 Magnun, I'd get a Smith & Wesson Model 69. Oh wait. I have one of those.

BUT, if I wanted a Ruger, I'd have to go with the Redhawk with a 5" barrel. It's the only Ruger D/A that I think isn't as ugly as a mud fence. The Super Redhawk looks like it was put together in the pipe shop. (The same can be said for a lot of Smith & Wesson's these days I admit.) Maybe looks aren't important to some people but I look at my guns a lot more than I shoot them.

I had a Super Blackhawk back in the day. Darn good shooting gun. I'm just not really a S/A guy at heart. If you do like them, it's hard to beat a SBH.

And I agree with Rod above. Ruger is a good company. They stand behind their products, and make a good one. I think you'd be satisfied with any of them really.
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Old December 29, 2015, 07:26 AM   #4
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All the Ruger .44 mags are plenty strong but I think I would prefer the Redhawk over the Super Redhawk for woods carry.
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Old December 29, 2015, 07:36 AM   #5
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Don't see how you could go wrong with any of them, how about an Alaskan in the mix?
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Old December 29, 2015, 11:46 AM   #6
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I would go with the Redhawk over the Super Redhawk. Before you buy one, it would be a good thing if you could find someone that would let you try theirs to see if you like the way it feels when you shoot it.

I succumbed to the hype and bought a Super Blackhawk many years ago and found it to be the worst handgun I have ever owned as far as recoil goes. I sold that POS after shooting a mere fifty rounds through it and bought a S&W model 29, I still have that Smith.

I have never shot a Redhawk, but I do like the way they feel in my hand.
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Old December 29, 2015, 12:07 PM   #7
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BUT, if I wanted a Ruger, I'd have to go with the Redhawk with a 5" barrel. It's the only Ruger D/A that I think isn't as ugly as a mud fence.


Definitely subjective I suppose, and I agree that many of the revolvers today do not look as handsome as in years past. That said, I'm leaning toward Ruger in the aesthetic department. I like the looks of the Redhawk and definitely the BH/SBH.

Like any other gun/caliber purchase, I may as well make peace with the fact that I'm not going to buy "just one gun," in this case a revolver. I've currently got more semi autos and haven't had a revolver in a few years, so this Redhawk will be my next purchase, until the next one!
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Old December 29, 2015, 12:34 PM   #8
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IMHO

Practically speaking, a double action has no advantage in this caliber. Recovery from full house loads is the culprit. I've owned SBH and Smith N Frames since the 70s and prefer the SBH because it doesn't have the shoulder that bites the hand.
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Old December 29, 2015, 01:34 PM   #9
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If you plan on putting any optics on it, I would go with the SRH. Otherwise, go with what looks and feels good for you. Both are great guns.
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Old December 29, 2015, 04:08 PM   #10
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I guess ugly is in the eye of the beholder. I think my Redhawk .44 looks just fine:



And is, for me, just as accurate as the 5.5" model I used to have.

And, more comfortable to carry.
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Old December 29, 2015, 04:46 PM   #11
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I don't think it's a matter of which one is stronger, but more of which one are you more comfortable shooting and whether you need a speedy reload or not. Speedy reloads aren't happening with the SA, which is the only downside IMO. I love the Ruger SAs, but haven't been able to justify carrying around one of those huge DAs in a big caliber.
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Old December 29, 2015, 05:01 PM   #12
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That's a nice lookin' Redhawk, but I like SA better - especially my new SBH 5.5":

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Old December 29, 2015, 05:27 PM   #13
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How different is the build strength of this Redhawk vs. the Super Redhawk and Super Blackhawk? Is the "regular" Redhawk capable of shooting hot .44 Mag loads? Candidly, it's not a great question as I'd be using .44 Special at the range and would only load heavy .44 Mag in the woods, hopefully never shooting anything with them.

As stated in the opening, I'm now learning less, the more I research. Please set me straight. Do I go with the "in-my-face" Redhawk, or do I order and wait for the SA Super Blackhawk (I love SA so it's not a concession).
I touched on this question a while ago, purely out of curiosity as I have my Ruger needs met already.

I opened this thread to ask this very question.

Basically, it seems that people vote the Super Redhawk the strongest, followed by the Super Blackhawk, followed by the Redhawk, in terms of sheer strength of build, but then certain members makes statements that put the Redhawk in second place, rather than third.

I think it is fair to say that the sorts of loads they can cope with, you'd really have to be pushing the envelope to find the difference between them. One point that was noteworthy is that the Redhawks have a longer cylinder than the Blackhawk, so if long, heavy bullets are your thing, you might struggle to get those to fit in the Blackhawk cylinder, and if you do, then you'd be right up to the cylinder gap, risking a bind if you get bullet creep from recoil.

I suppose it is only an issue with bullets over 300gn. For example, I have one load with 300gn and OAL not far off 2" (43.65mm), just, but I still have a fair amount of room in the cylinder.

Going back to the strength question, I have fired 275gn bullets at 1200fps from my Redhawk, as well as those 300gn at 1100fps, and a 240gn load at 1350fps. All from a 4" barrel. None had any sticky extraction issues.

In other words, none of them will leave you lacking, which ever you go for.
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Last edited by Pond, James Pond; December 30, 2015 at 02:54 AM.
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Old December 29, 2015, 10:23 PM   #14
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For what it's worth I think the SRH and RH are equal in build toughness. The difference is in the action design. RH is one big spring and a SRH is a bigger GP100 action.

SBH is probably weaker in build toughness than either, IMO. The SBH is a pretty light gun for its size and it has no lug to help with recoil either, so you feel it in an SBH.

I plan to buy both a RH and SRH but I think I'll be getting the RH first.
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Old December 29, 2015, 10:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
That's a nice lookin' Redhawk, but I like SA better - especially my new SBH 5.5":
Dang- do you even shoot that piece? It looks like it belongs in a museum! Very nice!
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Old December 29, 2015, 10:36 PM   #16
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I opened this thread to ask this very question.
Very cool thread- thank you for the link. I enjoyed reading those responses and felt they were very much inclusive of info I've been looking for...

(I didn't link your link here; hopefully those interested will have done so already.)
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Old December 29, 2015, 10:57 PM   #17
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It is my understanding that the Redhawk and Super Redhawk have longer cylinders than the S&W 29s.

I just measured the cylinder lengths on my Super Redhawk and my S&W M29-3. For the SRH, cylinder length is 1.750". For the S&W, it is 1.700". I am assuming that the cylinder length on the Redhawk is the same. Seems like I've read somewhere that they are the same.

I don't know if the Super Blackhawk has the longer cylinder or not.

The longer cylinder of the SRH allows me to shoot 320gr SSK cast bullets. Those same loads are too long for the M29-3.

If you plan to hunt with your 44, I would suggest a Super Redhawk. It's built like a tank and has reliefs for the Ruger scope rings. My 7.5" SRH has taken a few deer at 100 yards with Garret Hammerheads and with my 320gr SSK handloads. It is equipped with a Leupold 4X scope.
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Old December 30, 2015, 03:02 AM   #18
Pond, James Pond
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Very cool thread- thank you for the link.
Glad you found it useful. In all honesty, I bought my SS 4" Redhawk as it was that or a 6" GP100 at the time. I got it for a good price.
It's grown to be my favourite gun, but if I could, I think the SS 5.5" would really be the icing on the cake for me, so if you like it, I can well see why.
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Old December 30, 2015, 06:36 AM   #19
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I handled a new Super Blackhawk 7.5" yesterday and own two Redhawks, the longer of which is 5.5". The Redhawks are 45 Colt, but in 44 Mag I would take the Blackhawk in a heart beat and put it in a nice cross draw holster. If, however, I expected to ever encounter a bear, moose, or other aggressive big critter, I would want double action in lieu of any real skills in fast handling of a single action.

Last edited by Real Gun; December 30, 2015 at 11:34 AM. Reason: make that Super Blackhawk rather than Redhawk
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Old December 30, 2015, 09:47 AM   #20
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In answer to the OP's original question, I bought mine in the 80's. I bought it because I thought the Super Redhawk was butt ugly. I've shot thousands of full power hot rounds through it, and it still holds good 100 yard deer hunting groups. If there are any issues of inferior strength, or reduced lifespan i'm not aware of them. At the time, the main difference seemed to be the scope mounts on the SRH. I never like the wood grip, didn't like the Hogue grip, loved the Pacmeyer. The only thing I would do differently today is opt for the stainless finish. If you like it, don't let fears of its durability affect your decision. Mine has been used and even abused at times, and in my opinion, is one of the most durable pistols you can buy.


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Old December 30, 2015, 01:10 PM   #21
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The Redhawk and Super Redhawk can shoot some ammunition that the Super Blackhawk cannot because the DA guns have longer cylinders which allow very heavy bullets (>300 gr) to be seated further out thus allowing for more powder capacity and thus higher velocity without increasing pressure. This is only really an issue, however, with certain boutique loadings like Garrett's 330 gr Hammerhead or handloads using particularly heavy bullets.

Up to 300 gr, it really doesn't matter and I, personally, don't really have much need to shoot bullets that heavy in my .44 Magnums (I'm perfectly content with 240-260 gr bullets myself). Honestly, if you want or need more power than a normal .44 Magnum can provide, it seems to me that you should consider simply buying a revolver in .454 Casull or .445 Super Mag rather than trying to run the .44 Magnum at the ragged edge. I, personally, feel no need for anything more than a good ~250 gr Keith bullet at 1200-1300 fps as that will shoot clean through anything I have any business shooting at with a revolver.
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Old December 30, 2015, 02:19 PM   #22
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Perhaps the big bullets come more into play with the 45 Colt Redhawk, like one of mine once offered in 5.5" barrel. I also have the 45 Caliber NM Blackhawk convertible, bought to shoot higher powered 45 Colt, and will have to check if my Buffalo Bores will chamber.

I think the Redhawk in .44 Magnum, higher pressures than the 45 Colt, can certainly be pushed, but clearly Ruger would rather you did it in a Super Redhawk, which exists for a reason.
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Old January 1, 2016, 04:41 PM   #23
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I have a 4" Redhawk .44 Mag. The aesthetics of revolver design are subjective. As for me, pretty is as pretty does. The Redhawk is the strongest of the Ruger revolvers according to a number of authorities. I have a S&W 629 that is an excellent revolver. I have quite a few Smith & Wesson revolvers and prize them all. But, the Redhawk is my first choice in a big bore field pistol. Its heavy and it usually rides in my Simply Rugged chest rig.

The modular construction is useful if the revolver is soaked from rain or a dunk in a creek requiring the internals to be dried and lubed. The solid frame and offset cylinder locking notches, heavy duty hand and bolt, front of cylinder lock, independent ejector rod, thick chamber walls, lack of internal pins and other engineering features reflect the advancements in design and construction to handle higher intensity cartridges vs the moderately evolved design of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

The Redhawk looks like what it is: a strong, durable, modern take on a classic weapon type designed to do what is its designed to do...I bought my first handgun when I started with a city PD in 1975. It was a stainless 4" Ruger Security Si x . It has endured over forty years of hard use and thousands of various rounds. I still have it and its as strong and reliable as ever. I view the Redhawk as a worthy decendent of my old Security Six.
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Old January 3, 2016, 12:49 PM   #24
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How different is the build strength of this Redhawk vs. the Super Redhawk and Super Blackhawk?
In terms of absolute blow up strength, there may be a small difference, in practical terms THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!!!!

Quote:
Is the "regular" Redhawk capable of shooting hot .44 Mag loads?
All three guns are capable of handling any in spec .44 Mag load. Period.

All three will not be able to shoot ALL the POSSIBLE loads, it is a matter of cylinder length, NOT strength.

The .44 Mag round was essentially "built" for the 240/250gr weight bullets. Since then, we have learned some guns will handle 300gr and some 300gr+ weight bullets, due to the gun's size. NOT the gun's strength.

The SA gun is lighter, and so, will have heavier recoil, BUT, more importantly the grip shape means it will feel different. For some, the SA grip shape means the recoil feels worse, for others, the DA grip shape means the recoil feels worse. Very much a matter of personal preference.

For me, the DA shape feels worse with heavy loads. While I don't have a Redhawk, I do have a S&W M29, and a Ruger Super Blackhawk. I also have a T/C Contender .44Mag barrel, and I have a Desert Eagle in .44 Magnum.

Each one of these, shooting the same full power ammo feels different. For me, in terms of sharp, painful recoil, its the Contender, S&W, Ruger and Desert Eagle, in that order.

The Contender is lightest, 43oz (10") the S&W and the Super Blackhawk both run 48oz (S&W 6" Ruger 7.5"), and the Desert Eagle is massive at 4.25lbs (68oz) EMPTY!.

Heavier guns recoil less than lighter ones, that's basic physics and no getting around it. Which one feels best, or worst, to you is a personal matter. Which one is best for your personal needs and use is a compromise between weight, size, operating system and preferences.

For most of us, the classic SA "plow handle" grip shape's ease of handling recoil ends at 44 mag levels. Many prefer the "Bisley" grip shape for 44 Mag and above level recoil. I run oversize grips (pachmayr) on my SuperBH, and I don't think its all that bad.

I also, don't shoot bullets over the 240/250gr weight class, either, so my experience is somewhat subjective on that matter.

If it were me, I would get the Redhawk that is locally available. Redhawks aren't very common. If you don't like it, sell it, and get something else.
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Old January 3, 2016, 02:13 PM   #25
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The SA gun is lighter, and so, will have heavier recoil, BUT, more importantly the grip shape means it will feel different. For some, the SA grip shape means the recoil feels worse, for others, the DA grip shape means the recoil feels worse. Very much a matter of personal preference.

For me, the DA shape feels worse with heavy loads. While I don't have a Redhawk, I do have a S&W M29, and a Ruger Super Blackhawk. I also have a T/C Contender .44Mag barrel, and I have a Desert Eagle in .44 Magnum.
Both true. I've shot many Ruger Super Blackhawks and Redhawks over the years and I just don't like the feel of the recoil of either. Both seem sharp to me and not pleasant to shoot for an extended period of time. For me the best feeling from a grip and a recoil perspective was a Dan Wesson 44 I have both the V and the VH barrels. It weighs in about 4lbs depending on barrel choice. But the 44 with an 8" scoped barrel is very noise heavy but recoils like a 9mm and is usable to 100+ yards without too much effort. I too have a T/C with a 44 barrel. 10 inches and all I can say is ouch. don't get me wrong it is very accurate but on the painful side.
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